Football is a favourite American pastime. Although playing and watching the sport can be thrilling, kids can also enjoy creating imaginative football-themed art projects. Using paper, glue and paint, children age 6 and older can sculpt and construct a faux football sculpture, a spirited team banner or a model of a playing field. Adult supervision is required for all football craft activities, and parents (or supervising adults) should choose only art materials that are clearly labelled as nontoxic and safe for the child's age. For a list of such materials, visit the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) website.
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Football Papier Mache Art
Kids can create a football sculpture using papier mache and paint. Papier mache is an art process in which a paper product is soaked in a substance composed of water, flour and glue or paste. The wet paper is moulded into shapes or wrapped around an armature (a skeletonlike structure that gives body to a sculpture), dried and painted. Before beginning, cover your workspace with newspaper or something similar. Start the papier mache football with an oval-shaped armature. This can easily be created by blowing up a balloon and taping two loose or funnel-shaped cardboard cones to either end. If cardboard cones are not available, shape your own from pieces of sturdy paper and tape them to the balloon. Dip strips of cut newspaper into papier mache mix. Wrap the wet paper around the oval shaped armature, and set aside to dry. Once the papier mache football has fully dried, paint it brown and add white lines as laces.
Show your team spirit by creating an artfully designed team banner. Kids can choose a favourite pro team or their own school/community team. This art activity will take up a fairly large amount of space, so you will want to use a long table or a flat outdoor area. Cover the workspace with newspaper, plastic sheeting or a vinyl tablecloth. Do not work on a carpeted, hardwood or non-washable surface. Spread a twin-sized white sheet on the workspace so that it is completely flat. Hand-press out all of the ridges and ripples. Use a dark-coloured permanent or fabric marker to write the team's name in bubble (thick) letters. Add a drawing of the team mascot or symbol and a special message, such as "Go Team!" Paint the team name and drawings, making sure to avoid sitting on or dripping clothing in the paint. Set the banner aside to dry. Once the football team banner has completely dried, display it at home or on the sidelines of a game.
Football Field Model
Make a mini-football field that is perfect for pint-sized action figures. Reuse an old cardboard box that can be cut into a rectangle at least 10 by 20 inches. Put the flat cardboard rectangle on a covered work surface. Use green tempera paint to create a grasslike field. For a special effect, glue small squares of crumpled green tissue paper to the cardboard to look like fluffy grass. Add lines and number markings with a thin paintbrush and white tempera paint. Make goalposts by gluing three craft sticks together in a "U" shape, and then adding a fourth to the middle of the bottom (horizontal) stick. Once the glue has dried, place the craft stick goalpost into a small mound of green modelling clay to secure as a base. Glue the modelling clay base, with the craft stick goalpost, to the painted cardboard field at the end. Repeat for the other side. After the entire field has dried, use small action figures to play an imaginary game of miniature football.
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